At this point, it's difficult to even figure out what the lede is for this story: that Elon Musk Tweeted out something that sounds absurd or that the media instantly picked it up and ran with it without much inquiry as to its validity.
Regardless, on Wednesday, after being prompted by an animated GIF of the famous time machine from Back to the Future 2, Musk took to Twitter to make the claim that that the new Tesla Roadster will "do something like" hovering off the ground. Here is Musk's Tweet from Wednesday:
The new Roadster will actually do something like this https://t.co/fIsTAYa4x8— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 9, 2019
And naturally, nobody on the internet could figure out whether or not Musk was being serious...
...until he replied that he was not joking around.
I’m not. Will use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultra high pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 9, 2019
Musk also went on to say that the car will be able to accelerate "at the limit of human endurance" and that it would be able to cover a quarter-mile in less than eight seconds. What most people don't know is that this is not the first time that Musk has hinted about a SpaceX option for the new Tesla Roadster. Back in June, he said "Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly...":
SpaceX option package for new Tesla Roadster will include ~10 small rocket thrusters arranged seamlessly around car. These rocket engines dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering. Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2018
Of course, both Musk and the media immediately had their skeptics and debunkers on Twitter. Musk's claim that the car will "use SpaceX cold gas thruster system with ultrahigh pressure air in a composite over-wrapped pressure vessel in place of the 2 rear seats" invited critiques from one mechanical designer, while others just cracked jokes:
As context, im a mechanical designer: Cold gas thrusters will never be used in open public spaces. The noise levels would be extreme and a hazard.— Carl Kobelke (@carlkobelke) January 10, 2019
Please retweet. Need to stop these lies. $tsla $tslaq@AlderLaneeggs @markbspiegel @QTRResearch @TeslaCharts
We are looking to hire a some Flux Capacitor Engineers for the new Roadster. Please submit resume if interested. $TSLA— Elon Musk Miracles (@ElonMiracles) January 10, 2019
Someday there will be a Harvard Business School case study on how the mainstream media didn't do enough investigative work and helped enabled Elon Musk. My guess is that this will be listed in the exhibits. $TSLA pic.twitter.com/tHXOSz5B5t— Quoth the Raven (@QTRResearch) January 10, 2019
The company has been planning on bringing a new Roadster to the market that will be the quickest and fastest production car ever made. They have planned for a release in 2020 and - surprise – the company is already taking reservations for the $200,000 base version of the car with $50,000 deposits.
We can't wait to see if reservation holders are given the new hovering capabilities that they've now been promised by Musk. We also can't help but wonder if Tesla's new General Counsel approved this Tweet from Musk before it was put out. Oh, and by the way, have we mentioned that the company has yet to produce a $35,000 base price Model 3, as was promised years ago?